Several of my favorite people despise Mother’s Day, too. Absence of Alternatives has an annual rant against the holiday, and at least one friend calls annually to bemoan the day’s failure to meet expectations and the shame of what she actually expects (some time to herself).
I’m lucky enough to live near my mother and grandma. And I’m honored to be able to appreciate them on Mother’s Day. I like seeing them, cooking them their favorite foods, and finding them the perfect gift. I genuinely love being able to have Mother’s Day with my mom and grandma. So I’m not a complete jerk. In fact, I never hated the holiday we just choked down until I had a child.
And then reality hit.
Here’s the thing: the social myth is that your family will roll out the red carpet and honor you with gratitude and relaxation. Cue reels of breakfast in bed and luxurious lolling about in high-thread count sheets with precocious and adorable children who appreciate you. There are at least five things wrong with that sentence, including the fact that it only focuses on the minutes from 6:45-6:50 a.m.
What happens with the other 780 minutes of the day? A mythological and delightful dance of people throwing rose petals before you as they continually tell you to sit down so they can perform tasks both large and small for you?
Please. It’s the same day as every other day, but with an emailed discount coupon for pizza.
Pamper mom? Please. What’s my family going to do? Make a meal or two (or three), clean the house, manage their own fecal needs, let me read, and give me enough space for a run and a shower? No, Internet. They’re not. None of that.
Show mom you care? Maybe when they’re older. I don’t dare hope that they try to make the day feel special by offering sweet greetings or making precious presents and cards rather than bickering and screaming and ignoring me unless they want something. Bah. Humbug.
I’ve tried asking for what I need and I’ve tried moderating expectations. But this Mother’s Day was, as it has been for seven years, depressingly underwhelming. What I want is a break from the delightful, wonderful people who made me a mom. Because they are ALWAYS up in my space. Being cute and needy and snuggly and terrible and amazing and mean. Wanting a break for Mother’s Day sounds just terrible. Cruel and ungrateful. But what is also terrible is a day that looks absolutely indistinguishable from others, except that total strangers wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. Though that was actually quite nice.
So, out with it: I’m ungrateful. I don’t know how lucky I am. I don’t deserve the healthy, happy children and attenuating loveliness. I certainly don’t deserve a few minutes to breathe and think. What right have I? But, wait, the commercials say I do.
Mother’s Day makes me bipolar.
Thanks for all the meaningless signs at the supermarket and the freaking newsstand, Holiday Fabricated to Make Me Notice What Is Missing. I’ve let you leave me feeling disappointed, unworthy, unappreciated, and exhausted.
Can’t imagine why I don’t want to see you again next year when you raise your annoying, smarmy, fake smile-y face again.
Maybe if I spend the next 364 days appreciating my mom and grandma, I can sleep through Mother’s Day next year.